Categories or Tags: Which One to Use?


Many people might be confused by Categories and Tags during wordpress blogging, at least I did. It might be a trivial thing. To me, it depends how I use them. My purpose is to help readers to navigate around my site. To be simple, i treat categories as my table of contents and tags are my index words. By having both, it can help the reader navigate my site easily, and help them find the answers they need from my site.

Here are some key "Attributes" of both:

  • Categories and Tags are for your visitors, not just search engines. Think of your visitors’ needs first.
  • Categories and Tags are about navigation and sorting, grouping your content to help visitors find related information.
  • Categories are your site’s table of contents.
    • Categories help identify what your blog is about.
    • Categories represent your body of work on the subject.
    • Categories are not for you, they are for your reader.
    • Categories help reader know if they are in the right place.
    • Categories must encompass collected groups of information.
    • Categories must be specific enough to help visitors understand the content within, while not being too general or vague.
    • A category that dominates a blog may need to be spun off to a separate blog.
    • Categories with only one post tells the reader you don’t know much about that topic.
  • Tags are your site’s index words.
    • Tags are micro-data or meta-data, more specifically micro-categorization for your site’s content.
    • Tags were indexed by Technorati and others as "keywords" and today are just part of the collection of content they index. They are not indexed nor score "extra points" by other indexing services.
  • Search engines do not recognize or reward the rel="tag" which identifies a tag.
  • If you can’ t write five blog post titles/ideas on a topic, then you don’ t have a category.
  • If enough posts have the same tag, and it represents your blog purpose and goals, it’s a category.

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